Too Many Garden Veggies! What to Do?

Reader Contribution by Gretchen Anderson
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Carrots, peppers and onions…oh my! I planted some very colorful and flavorful carrots this past spring and now I have a bounty of the vitamin, mineral and fiber rich vegetables. In reality, I have too many carrots. When I harvested them from my garden, I thought, “surely we can’t eat all these beautiful carrots no matter how delicious they are—before they go bad.” I considered canning—but how? I haven’t ever tried to put up carrots, so I was a bit hesitant.

But then, a brilliant idea came to me. 

There is a lovely little restaurant in Boise, Idaho called Salt Tears Coffeehouse and Noshery. They serve house pickled veggies with a grilled scallion dip. I order them every time I visit. Once you have them, you CRAVE them! The last time I was in, I was able to determine a few of the spices in the pickling brine. I then Googled the ingredients and found out that there are recipes on the Internet with the same spices, called, “Pickled Carrots, Moroccan-Style.” SCORE! I had a plan for my carrots. I purchased a head of cauliflower from our farmers market and added some of my red peppers and onions to the mix. 

I have some experience canning. As a kid, I remember helping my Maurie (grandmother) and mom in the kitchen. They spent their late summers and autumns putting up whatever came out of the garden. So, canning the vegetables is what I set out to do, once I realized I might be able to have some of my own “Salt Tears” veggies. The recipe I found online was relatively easy to make and process. Preparing the vegetables was the most time consuming aspect of the project. I followed the directions; packing each pint jar full of colorful vegetables. Then, I poured the brine on top. I hand-sealed the sterilized canning jars and processed them in a hot bath for 10 minutes. I was concerned the processing time might make the vegetables soft and mushy. The recipe instructed me to wait at least two days before enjoying them. So, I had to practice some patience before finding out.

It’s been a week and we just polished off our second jar of spicy, crunchy and spectacular pickled vegetables! They aren’t exactly like Salt Tear’s – but they are pretty darn close and so delicious. I am about to make a second batch. But, this time I will reduce the amount of vinegar, black peppercorn and red pepper flake. Instead, I will add a little more water and sugar. I’ll let you know how it all turns out.

If you try a pickling recipe, let me know how your veggies turn out! (Remember to get professional advice/training if you’ve not ever canned vegetables. Most university extension offices can assist you.)

     My next blog: I have a DEFINITE PLAN for all those GREEN tomatoes!